Ube Coconut Rolls

Summer is the season of art camps, family vacations, science internships, anddd studying for board exams if you are a medical student! Felicia and I take our second board exam this Monday (!!). But in the meantime, here’s a new recipe we’ve been baking up this summer.

Ube is a purple yam ubiquitous to many Filipino desserts. But recently, it’s taken America by Instagrammable storm because like red beets and pink dragonfruit, its purple hue makes for a stunning natural color in baked goods. These Ube Coconut Rolls are a Filipino inspired take on the classic cinnamon roll.

Ube Coconut Rolls

Makes 12 rollsIMG_5628


For the dough

  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 540 g (4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 225g (1/2 lb) grated ube
  • 1/2 can (7oz) coconut milk
  • 1/2 can (7oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut shavings
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


To make the ube butter

  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the ube, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and let the ube cook in a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes or until the ube is soft, stirring occasionally.
  3. Set aside and let cool before using an immersion blender to make a smooth paste.
  4. Transfer the finished ube butter to a glass container and store in the refrigerator overnight or until the paste firms up for easier use in the rolls.

To make the rolls

  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let the yeast bloom slightly.
  2. Meanwhile in a large bowl, add the rest of the dough ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, eggs, salt). Add the bloomed yeast-milk mixture and stir until a shaggy dough forms.
  3. Switch to your hands and knead the dough until smooth (~5-10 min; if the dough is sticky, add up to 1/2 cup extra flour).
  4. Let rise covered with a lid and towel until doubled in size (~1-2 hours).
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a roughly 20″ x 14″ rectangle (~1/4″ thick).
  6. Spread the ube butter in an even layer over the dough. Sprinkle over with the coconut shavings and chopped walnuts.
  7. Starting from the long edge, carefully roll the dough up into a log and pinch the edge to seal the seam. Cut the log into 12 pieces and place them in two 9 x 7 in. buttered baking dishes.
  8. Place the dishes in the refrigerator and let the dough rise once more overnight (alternatively, let rise at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled for same day consumption).
  9. The next morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the buns are golden brown.


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